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Volume 6 (2006), Pages 1008-1023
Review Article

Annexin 1 and Melanocortin Peptide Therapy for Protection Against Ischaemic-Reperfusion Damage in the Heart

1Centre for Biochemical Pharmacology, The William Harvey Research Institute, London, EC1M 6BQ, UK
2School of Biosciences, Department of Human and Health Sciences, University of Westminster, London, W1W 6UW, UK

Received 21 January 2006; Revised 10 August 2006; Accepted 11 August 2006

Academic Editor: Charles N. Serhan

Copyright © 2006 F.N.E. Gavins et al.


Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of mortality within the western world affecting 2.7 million British people. This review highlights the beneficial effects of naturally occurring hormones and their peptides, in myocardial ischaemic-injury (MI) models, a disease pathology in which cytokines and neutrophils play a causal role. Here we discuss two distinct classes of endogenous peptides: the steroid inducible annexin 1 and the melanocortin peptides. Annexin 1 and the melanocortins counteract the most important part of the host inflammatory response, namely, the process of leukocyte extravasation, as well as release of proinflammatory mediators. Their biological effects are mediated via the seven transmembrane G-protein-coupled receptors, the fMLP receptor family (or FPR), and the melanocortin receptors, respectively. Pharmacological analysis has demonstrated that the first 24 amino acids of the N-terminus (termed Ac2-26) are the most active region. Both exogenous annexin 1 and its peptides demonstrate cardioprotectiveness and continuing work is required to understand this annexin 1/FPR relationship fully. The melanocortin peptides are derived from a precursor molecule called the POMC protein. These peptides display potent anti-inflammatory effects in human and animal models of disease. In MI, the MC3R has been demonstrated to play an important role in mediating the protective effects of these peptides. The potential anti-inflammatory role for endogenous peptides in cardiac disease is in its infancy. The inhibition of cell migration and release of cytokines and other soluble mediators appears to play an important role in affording protection in ischaemic injury and thus may lead to potential therapeutic targets.